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Full text of "My Country And My People"

THE    CHINESE    MIND                       8l

astronomy, sciences which required an analytical mind: and
the Hindus developed a grammar of their own. The Chinese,
with all their native intelligence, never developed a science of
grammar, and their mathematics and astronomical knowledge
have all been imported. For the Chinese mind delights only
in moral platitudes, and their abstract terms like "benevolence,"
"kindliness," "propriety" and "loyalty" are so general that
in such discussions they are naturally lost in vague generalities.

Of all the ancient philosophers of the Chou Dynasty, only
Motse and Hanfeitse developed a style akin to cogent reason-
ing. Mencius, who was undoubtedly a great sophist, cared
only for such big words as "utility" and "righteousness." All
the rest of them, like Chuangtse, Liehtse and Huainantse,
delighted in graceful metaphors. The disciples of Motse, Huei
Shih and Kungsun Lung, who were great sophists, were
interested in spinning scholastic conundrums, and in en-
deavouring to prove such propositions as "eggs have hair on
them," "horses lay eggs," "a dog may be a lamb," "a chicken
has three legs," "fire is not warm," "the wheel never touches
the ground," "a tortoise is longer than a snake," etc. The
scholars of the Han Dynasty, which soon followed, were interested
only in making Alexandrian commentaries on the classics of
the preceding period. The Ch'in scholars after them revived
Taoism and depended on their "intuition" for the solving of
the mysteries of their own bodies and the universe. Experi-
mentation was never thought of, and no scientific method
had been developed. The Sung philosophers reinterpreted
Confucianism in the light of Buddhism, and transformed it
into a system of mental discipline and moral hygiene. They de-
veloped a reputation for grasping the general content of a book
"without wanting to know it thoroughly." The Sung scholars
had therefore the most unscientific philology, or no philology at
all. Only as late as the Ch'ing (Manchu) Dynasty was there
developed a comparative method, which at once put the Ch'ing
philology on a height unattained before. Ch'ing philology
was the nearest approach to a scientific method in China.

It is easy to see why the Chinese mind cannot develop a
scientific method; for the scientific method, besides being
analytical, always involves an amount of stupid drudgery,